US cancellation of HK special status 'beneath notice'

By GT staff reporters Published: 2020/5/28 4:03:34

China should 'speed up HK national security legislation for retaliation'


The US' move to announce that Hong Kong is "no longer autonomous from China" and threatening to cancel the city's special status in trade won't shake China's determination to finish national security legislation for Hong Kong to crack down on anti-China activities in the city sponsored by the US and other foreign interests, said Chinese analysts, and they even encouraged the central government to speed up the legislation to clean up the mess in Hong Kong as soon as possible.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported to the US Congress on Wednesday that "Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China," a move that could jeopardize the administrative region's favorable trade relationship with the US and open up Chinese officials to sanctions, CNBC reported.

The State Department was required to issue a determination on "Hong Kong's autonomy under pro-democracy legislation" passed late last year. The law also requires the president to impose sanctions on foreigners who undermine "fundamental freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong."

Diao Daming, a China-US relationship expert at the Renmin University in Beijing, told the Global Times that "the US has no right to define if Hong Kong is autonomous or not because this is entirely the domestic affairs of China, and offering Hong Kong a favorable special status in trade is not a charity. It is totally serving US national interests."

Therefore, if the US cancels the "special status" for Hong Kong, US companies that benefit from favorable trade ties will surely be harmed, and the White House will receive blowback, Diao noted, adding that no matter what decision the US makes, China's determination to safeguard its own national security won't be shaken at all.

The central government of China is trying its best to protect Hong Kong from instability and riots regardless of pressure from the West, and the US is taking actions to harm Hong Kong's economy and development, so Hong Kong people with common sense can clearly see "who is really helping Hong Kong," Diao further said.

Not a big deal

Pompeo tweeted on Wednesday that "Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong."

Many Hong Kong anti-government or separatist protesters left comments under the tweet, thanking Pompeo and saying this would "help" Hong Kong. While others suggested the move would hurt both Hong Kong and US companies and the US is clearly using Hong Kong as a bargaining chip for the major power competition with China, it is "insane to thank the person who is hurting you," said a comment.

Shen Yi, a professor of international politics at Shanghai's Fudan University, told the Global Times that "Pompeo's announcement is beneath notice, and it is just wasting time to expect separatists to think and speak like a normal person with common sense. The best and most effective solution is to finalize the national security legislation and arrest them as soon as possible."

What the US could do is basically sanction Hong Kong officials or mainland officials involved in the legislation and launch economic and financial sanctions against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). This move would be harmless to both the mainland and Hong Kong, but US companies that export products from Hong Kong to the US market would be the first victims of ignorant US moves, Shen noted.

Chinese analysts hoped the central government of China can finish the legislation as soon as possible and launch a thorough investigation and law-enforcement in Hong Kong to clean up the garbage created by the US and other foreign interests, and this would be the best response to the arrogant and hegemonic interference by the White House.

As for any potential impact on Hong Kong and the mainland's economy, Chinese experts mostly believe it is nothing compared to national security.

"It's no big deal. Let the storm come more violently," Mei Xinyu, a trade expert close to the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times.

As a great nation marching on its path to rejuvenation, "wind and rain are inevitable," he said, adding that China should be prepared for Huawei's protracted war launched by the US and make Hong Kong's economy more diversified to do business with other major economies around the globe to fill the gap left by the US.

National security law needed

Pompeo's announcement also seems senseless to some foreign scholars, as they believe China's national security legislation for Hong Kong has not changed "the one country, two systems" principle in the HKSAR.

Tom Fowdy, a British political and international relations analyst and a graduate of Durham and Oxford universities, told the Global Times that, "To say that Hong Kong is not autonomous from China is an obvious exaggeration pursued for political motivations. Article 18 of the Basic Law sets out that the National People's Congress (NPC) has a right to impose laws under the fields of national security, defense and foreign affairs (which are not granted autonomies) in the Third Annex of the Basic Law."

Article 18 also sets out that the NPC has the right to impose relevant national laws in Hong Kong if turmoil within the region is beyond the control of the HKSAR government, said Fowdy, adding that the US instead wishes to utilize the HKSAR to undermine China as a whole, and in that regard is why the national security law is needed.


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